Belal Shohayeb

2021 ASBMB FELLOWSHIP: BELAL SHOHAYEB

Queensland Brain Institute

Dr Belal Shohayeb completed a Bachelor’s degree (2013) at Pharos University in Alexandria, Egypt. He then moved to the UK to attain a Master of Research in developmental biology at the University of Nottingham. Belal undertook his PhD (2016–2020) at the School of Biomedical Sciences, the University of Queensland (UQ), in the laboratory of Associate Professor Dominic Ng, where he investigated patient-derived mutations in WDR62, a microcephaly-associated protein. He discovered novel molecular functions of WDR62 in cilia formation, a sensory organelle essential for normal brain development, by recruiting tubulin transporter proteins at the cilia basal body required for cilia elongation. His research contributed significantly to understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms of WDR62 pathogenic mutations during brain development, reflected in the six papers published during his PhD in journals including Stem Cell Reports and Human Molecular Genetics. Two of his publications received the best publication award of the year from the School of Biomedical Sciences, UQ, in 2018 and 2019. The excellence of his research has been recognised by awards from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Recently, he joined Queensland Brain Institute as a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratory of Professor Helen Cooper, where he developed an interest in autism-associated mutations in postsynaptic adhesion proteins and their implication on actin polymerisation and synaptic morphogenesis.

The ASBMB Fellowship will allow Belal to present his recent findings in a Cold Spring Harbour Meeting, Autism from Genetic Discoveries to Interventions, where he can develop new collaborations and learn about new techniques.